Friends of Search, Amsterdam, 2021
Although SEO and UX are often seen as two separate teams at companies, Astrid Kramer, Corpororate SEO & UX Consultant, believes SEO doesn’t result in anything if you don’t take UX into account. So how then, do we implement SEO and UX strategies in a way in which they support each other?
Astrid Kramer became known as “Nerd in Skirt” over 13 years ago in the still small and kind of private SEO scene in Germany. Since then she has been considered a pioneer of strategic search engine optimization, focused on big corporations. The combination of SEO with user experience and business requirements and conditions has brought her international key accounts. Astrid Kramer will speak on November 16 at the Dutch edition (Amsterdam) of Friends of Search 2021.
You currently live in Marbella. Are there any differences in the digital marketing landscape in Spain compared to Germany?
I have to admit that although I live in Spain, I work exclusively with clients from Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland. There would also be hardly any relevant customers for me in my area, since I work specifically with large corporations. For that, I would have to leave the beautiful Costa del Sol and move to Madrid or Barcelona. What is striking here, is that Whatsapp is a very important channel in communication. Service providers such as real estate agents, hairdressers, etc. communicate almost exclusively via Whatsapp. On the negative side, it can be noted that although the Internet infrastructure here is significantly better than in Germany, the websites are in a much poorer condition. For example, the official site of Marbella does not use HTTPS and cannot be visited without a warning message.
What are you going to talk about at Friends of Search or, why should people come to your session or the conference in general?
My presentation is especially interesting for publishers who earn money with advertising on the Internet and know the area of conflict SEO – Sales. Most of the time, these are two areas that fight rather than work together. In my talk I will show a way how to achieve the best possible result taking into account SEO and UX, but also revenue goals.
SEO and UX departments don’t always work well together. How do you see that nowadays?
SEO brings me nothing at all if I do not take into account UX. Traffic that doesn’t convert and that doesn’t lead to customers or readers is just server load. Conversely, an excellent UX is of no use if no one visits my site. In my opinion, these two fields are inseparable.
You will also talk about the relationship between ad sales and SEO/UX. Can you tell us more about this?
As I said, these two areas are often considered to be in opposition to each other. Ad sales usually leads to poorer page performance and can negatively influence the UX. This means that SEO suffers under ads. On the other hand, SEO is very often perceived as a breadless art in companies and therefore not taken seriously. How often do people ask: “What’s the benefit of SEO for me monetarily?” But I will show in my presentation that SEO and ad sales don’t have to be contradictory at all.
Google’s algorithm has consistently taken the user experience into account. Are there specific ways you can improve your SEO performance with user experience factors?
For SEO, every subpage you come to via Google is a landing page. And every landing page must be optimized with regard to the user and his search intention. Good SEO work always consists of not only being happy about good rankings, but also visiting the pages and asking yourself: “Do I even find what I’m looking for here? Does the site make me happy?” And since you often can’t evaluate that objectively at all, user tests can provide crucial insights for improvement.
In May 2020, Google announced its new Core Web Vitals, a set of user-focused metrics designed to measure a page’s “health” in terms of providing a smooth and seamless user experience. More than one year later now, do you think this has had an impact more and should it be incorporated into our work and plans?
I’ve been doing SEO for a lot of years now and I think it’s a shame that our industry very often waits for Google to provide metrics that you can then use as a guide and optimize towards. What are the Core Web Vitals, when you take a closer look? We have metrics here that say, for example, how much page elements shift when you visit the page, an extraordinary negative user experience. Or how long it takes for the page to load visibly. How important a good performance is, every good SEO should have known before 2010, before performance officially became a ranking factor. Yes, we care about what metrics go into the algorithm and thus influence our rankings. But we should consider the optimization of the product “website” independently and want the best for our visitors.
Can SEO and UX be served optimally on one page or do you think it’s OK to have separate “SEO pages” and “UX pages”?
In general, it is NEVER okay to have separate SEO pages. As I said before: SEO is part of the “product website”. And so is UX. They have to come together, everything else does not make any sense at all.